The wisdom of Winston Churchill’s lament was never more evident than today, in connection with press coverage of the confrontation at sea between IDF forces and anti-Israeli blockade busters. David Hazony observes:
I spoke this morning with a senior producer for one of the major network news divisions in the United States. “This morning, I received a well-phrased press release from the office of [PA spokesman] Saeb Erekat,” he told me. “I got it at 4:36 a.m. It was obviously prepared in advance. Now it’s 11 a.m., and I still have got nothing from the Israeli government.”
And someone at CNN, noting that pro-Palestinian activists were live-streaming the event and sending messages via Twitter throughout, complained that “despite everything they’ve been through, the Israelis seem to have been taken utterly by surprise; It’s always react, react, react — never proactive.”
These claims by MSM representatives strike me disingenuous. It’s easy to get your side of the story out first if (1) you already know you’re going to start a fight and (2) you are willing to lie about what happened. As ever, the Palestinian side met both of these criteria last night. The Israelis, by contrast, did not know in advance that they would be assaulted, though they probably should have placed a higher probability on this outcome than they did.
More importantly, the Israelis did not want to present an account of the battle until they could verify all of the details. This is understandable — the government stands to be crucified by the MSM and the international community if it gets any detail wrong. Hamas, the PA, and their supporters face no such risk.
Under these circumstances, it’s a cop-out for CNN and others to blame the one-sidedness of their coverage on the fact that the Israelis don’t get their story out more quickly. The fault instead lies with their willingness, often based on their own bias, to report the anti-Israel narrative before they have any good reason to believe its truth. A “well-worded press release” from the office of a PA spokesman that has been “prepared in advance” does not constitute good reason.